Norma Lopez's killer granted a hearing for mental competency

From the Press-Enterprise:

During a pre-sentencing hearing Friday morning, Jesse’s Torres’ attorneys presented motions arguing that the defendant is “intellectually disabled” and should receive a hearing to make a final determination.

If a defendant has a cognitive disability, he cannot be sentenced to death because it would be a violation of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, which bars cruel and unusual punishment.

Schwartz will hear the matter this summer. If Schwartz rules there is evidence of mental impairment, the default sentence for the defendant will be life in prison without the possibility of parole. It doesn’t change his guilty verdict for the death of Norma Lopez, a 17-year-old teen who was murdered by Jesse Torres.

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Debra CraigComment